One Mom’s Journey from Fat to Skinny to Confident

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I Challenge You, Fructans

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As I mentioned, I’m reading two books about the low-FODMAP diet, and the one that has resonated with me the most is IBS: Free at Last! The author has a very practical way of talking about IBS and the diet and seems to understand how overwhelming it all is. The book is formatted mostly in a Q&A style and she also offers an alternative plan to an elimination diet, which appealed to me as I was already leaning that way. More on that in a bit. 

The first thing I did when my doctor diagnosed me with IBS was cut out lactose, thinking that my recent increase in consumption was the culprit. Honestly, I was hoping that was as far as I would need to go but unfortunately it didn’t help. I’m still having the same symptoms.

I read everything I could online about the low-FODMAP diet but so many of the foods on the elimination phase are integrated into my daily routine. And I’m not even talking about simple things like bread or pasta, which I already eat minimal amounts of. It’s things like broccoli, beets, cauliflower, cabbage, onions, garlic, I mean these are foods I worked hard getting INTO my diet. How is it now they are things I need to avoid?

I really couldn’t wrap my head around it.

Then I hit the “Alternative Approach” chapter of the book and there was a little worksheet to help see which group of foods (lactose, fructose, fructans, polyols, or galactans) are the most prominent in your diet. Once you identify which one is you simply avoid that group to see if your symptoms improve. Since my issues are annoying but not really affecting everyday life I decided this is the way I’m going to continue. Especially after filling out the worksheet and realizing my current diet is almost entirely made up of fructans! Things like:

  • Bulgar
  • Couscous
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Onions
  • Scallions
  • Garlic
  • Pasta
  • Cabbage
  • Kale
  • Wheat

I mean, I don’t think I eat a meal that doesn’t have at least one of those things in it! Have you seen GreenLiteBites? lol

The other book I have, The Complete Low-FODMAP Diet, has a more comprehensive list of foods that contain fructans. The following are listed as having a high or moderate amount of fructans:

fructans

According to the author of that second book:

No one is able to digest fructans, and if you have IBS you should minimize your intake of them. Fructans are probably the most common FODMAP to cause symptoms of IBS…

I find it ironic that all the vegetables I worked so hard to incorporate into my daily life may be the reason behind my tummy issues. My doctor was very adamant in saying that my particular symptoms aren’t “normal” but they aren’t dangerous either. He said, figure out what your triggers are and then you can decide if the symptoms are worth the foods that are causing them.

So starting today I’m attempting to eliminate fructans from my diet (or at least severely reduce) to see if there’s a change. If there is then I know I just need to watch serving sizes of some of my favorite healthy foods because honestly, I can’t see giving up broccoli, Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, or asparagus!

If there is no change, well, then I may have to dive head first into the elimination diet.

Again, I welcome your experiences. This is all very fascinating to me!



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Discussion

There are 11 comments so far.

    Lowfatlady

    January 14, 2015

    I have IBS as well and it has been hard to work with on my weight loss journey. I can’t eat a lot of fiber or veggies with out it giving me issues. A lot of dairy will do it too. That is hard when most diets say eat a ton of veggies. I have just found which veggies I like and can tolerate and how much. If my body starts giving me issues I back off for a bit.

    Mary Nell

    January 14, 2015

    Good luck!!

    Paula

    January 14, 2015

    As someone who suffers with IBS. The #1 trigger for trouble for me is gluten. Once I removed gluten I finally started having normal BM. I removed most dairy as well as it has helped too. I do good with most veggies, fruits. The more processed = more tummy trouble for me. The more wholesome without gluten or dairy is my ticket to a happy tummy & less bathroom trips.

    Agnes

    January 14, 2015

    I wish you luck Roni. I was diagnosed with IBS back in college. The one thing I have learned is that my IBS is all over the place and I do well with certain things but only for a time. It’s like my body can only stand so much of a particular food and when I have reached the limit, well, watch out! Most fruits and veggies are not my friend. Lactose is touch and go. The good news is that my system always comes back to normal eventually. I have read so many books that after all the years I am just coasting for a while.

    Ange

    January 15, 2015

    Sorry to hear that :(, you’re going to have a tough time eating. Looks like most of the good food is from your fructan list,

    Ann

    January 15, 2015

    I thought I had IBS once (turned out to be an ulcer).
    It always pissed me off that the lists I saw were always foods NOT to eat. What about lists of foods you SHOULD eat? Much less frustrating. Does the book provide such a list?

      roni

      January 15, 2015

      I agree! Yes both books give “safe” lists. I’m working on one for the blog too as it’s been helping me focus on the positive side as well. I should have it ready in a few days. :)

    Jenny

    January 15, 2015

    Another factor that further complicates things is that sometimes a reaction to a problematic food isn’t always immediate. Symptoms can show up hours after consuming a food which can make it very hard to pin down what caused the distress. For that reason, based on my experience while “testing” groups, plan to eliminate each FODMAP group for a minimum of a week to truly see if you’ve made any improvement. For me, some groups are totally obvious. I’ve NEVER been able to eat cabbage, broccoli, or most beans without immediate symptoms of distress. With the FODMAP diet, I was relieved to at least understand WHY I didn’t feel well after eating such healthy foods. I agree, that the process kind of sucks, but at the end, you’d have tons of knowledge (and therefore power) to control how your body feels. That is really worth all the fuss!

    Thea @ It's Me Vs. Me

    January 15, 2015

    I’ll be watching this journey of yours very closely. And I might need to go get the IBS book.

    Kat

    January 22, 2015

    Roni,
    Have you always had IBS or is it a new issue? If not, you may want to investigate Microscopic Colitis. I developed this without any any warning for the first time in my life this summer. A Colonoscopy is the only way to confirm it. Steroids brought it under control. I now have many food issues/ allergy that I never had before and am trying low Fodmap and so appreciated finding recipes. This is a life changing health problem.

      roni

      January 22, 2015

      It’s recent but longer than I think I realized. I’ve just been living with it because it’s not that bad but honestly, things haven’t been normal for at least a year maybe 2.